Qualitative Assessment Review Guidelines

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					Qualitative Assessment Review Guidelines

      for Investigative Operations of

   Federal Offices of Inspector General




                December 2011
                      Council of the Inspectors General
                         on Integrity and Efficiency



Authority: Section 11 of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. app. 3.), as
amended.

Mission: The mission of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and
Efficiency (CIGIE) shall be to address integrity, economy, and effectiveness issues that
transcend individual Government agencies and increase the professionalism and
effectiveness of personnel by developing policies, standards, and approaches to aid in
the establishment of a well-trained and highly skilled workforce in the Offices of
Inspectors General.

CIGIE Investigations Committee: The Committee contributes to improvements in
program integrity, efficiency, and cost effectiveness Governmentwide by providing
analysis of investigative issues common to Federal agencies. The Committee provides
the CIGIE community with guidance, support, and assistance in conducting high-quality
investigations. Provides input to the CIGIE Professional Development Committee and
the Training Institute on the training and the development needs of the CIGIE
investigations community. The Committee actively engages the Assistant Inspector
General for Investigations Committee to assist in carrying out the Committee's goals
and strategies.
                      Message From the Chairman of the
                       CIGIE Investigations Committee


I am pleased to present the Quality Assurance Review (QAR) Guidelines for
Investigative Operations of Federal Offices of Inspector General (OIGs). Throughout this
version, you will note minor changes for clarification. However, the most significant
addition is a definitional framework to assist QAR teams in evaluating their results and
arriving at a peer review rating.

The purpose of the QAR program, or investigation peer review, is to ensure that Council
of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) Quality Standards for
Investigations (QSI) are followed and that law enforcement powers conferred by the
2002 amendments to the Inspector General Act (IG Act) are properly exercised.

Each OIG is required to implement and maintain a system of quality control for its
investigative operations. The nature, extent, and formality of such a system will vary
based on the OIG’s circumstances. The system of quality control encompasses the
OIG’s leadership, with an emphasis on performing high-quality work, compliant with
required standards.

In conducting a particular QAR, the review team renders an opinion on adequacy of a
given OIG’s internal safeguards, management procedures, and quality control in
connection to compliance with the IG Act, QSI, and law enforcement powers.

I want to thank the Assistant IG for Investigations (AIGI) Working Group for their
diligence in revising these Guidelines with input from the AIGI community. I also want to
thank the Investigations Committee for their review and support in finalizing the QAR
Guidelines. The members of the AIGI Working Group and of the Investigations
Committee are listed in Appendix D.




                                        Carl W. Hoecker
                                        Chairman, Investigations Committee
                                        CIGIE
                                        Table of Contents
                                                                                                   Page

PREFACE                                                                                            1

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS                                                                             2
  Applicability of Appendices                                                                      2
  Background                                                                                       3
  Objectives of Investigative Qualitative Assessment Review (QAR) Program                          3
  Management and Oversight of CIGIE QAR Program                                                    4
  Review Team Staffing and Qualifications                                                          5
  Independence                                                                                     5
  Confidentiality and Security                                                                     5
  Due Professional Care                                                                            6
  Self-Inspection Programs                                                                         6

PLANNING AND PERFORMING THE INVESTIGATIVE CIGIE QAR REVIEW                                         6
  Scope                                                                                            6
  Approach                                                                                         7
  Pre-Site Review Steps                                                                            7
  Working Environment                                                                              8
  Review Schedule                                                                                  8
  Entrance Briefing                                                                                9
  Sample Selection                                                                                 9
  Defining and Identifying Observations, Findings, Deficiencies, and Significant Deficiencies     11
  QAR Rating Options                                                                              12
  Views of Responsible Officials                                                                  13
  Exit Conference                                                                                 13

REPORTING REVIEW RESULTS                                                                          13
  Opinion Letter                                                                                  13
  Observations Letter                                                                             14
  Views of Responsible Officials                                                                  15
  Dispute Resolution                                                                              15
  Letter Distribution                                                                             16
  Files Maintenance                                                                               16

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                                                                  17

APPENDICES
  A     Qualitative Assessment Review Organizational Profile
  B     Questionnaire for Review of Law Enforcement Powers Implementation
  C-1   Questionnaire for Review of Compliance with the CIGIE Quality Standards for Investigations
  C-2   Questionnaire for Review of Compliance with Quality Standards for Investigations (Digital
        Forensics Activities)
  D-1   CIGIE Peer Review Individual Closed Case Review Checklist
  D-2   CIGIE Peer Review Case Review Summary Checklist
  E     Sample Formats for Quality Assessment Review Reports
  F     Attorney General’s Guidelines for Offices of Inspector General with Statutory Law Enforcement
        Authority
  G-1   Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations
  G-2   Cover Memo—Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations
  H     Attorney General’s Guidelines Regarding the Use of Confidential Informants
  I     CIGIE Quality Standards for Investigations
  J     CIGIE Guidelines on Undercover Operations


                                                   i
PREFACE

This document articulates standards and guidance for conducting the Council of the
Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) Quality Assessment Reviews
(QAR) of the investigative operations of Offices of Inspector General (OIGs). It was
initially developed, and subsequently updated, by the CIGIE Investigations Committee
to establish an independent external review process to:

   1. Ensure that the general and qualitative standards adopted by OIGs comply with
      the requirements of the Quality Standards for Investigations (QSI) adopted by
      CIGIE and its predecessors, PCIE and ECIE. This compliance will be assessed
      for all CIGIE organizations.

   2. Ascertain whether adequate internal safeguards and management procedures
      exist to ensure that the law enforcement powers conferred by the Inspector
      General Act, as amended (IG Act), are properly exercised by OIGs with such
      authority, pursuant to Section 6(e) of the IG Act and the “Attorney General’s
      Guidelines for Offices of Inspector General with Statutory Law Enforcement
      Authority.”

Each OIG is required to implement and maintain a system of quality control for its
investigative operations. The system of quality control encompasses the OIG’s
leadership, with an emphasis on performing high-quality work. The policies and
procedures of each OIG should be designed to provide reasonable assurance of
complying with professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory
requirements. The nature, extent and formality of an OIG’s system of quality control will
vary based on the OIG’s circumstances. Each OIG must develop and document its
quality control policies and procedures in accordance with its agency and individual OIG
requirements, then communicate those policies and procedures to its personnel.

These guidelines may be adapted for organizations’ internal reviews (self assessments)
within the CIGIE community. It also provides guidelines for reviewing investigative
processes and records maintenance in any investigative operation.




                                           1
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Applicability of Appendices. The following questionnaires and checklists were
   developed to assist in conducting the review of an organization.

      Appendix A is a profile sheet of administrative data about the organization being
       reviewed.

      Appendix B is a questionnaire to assess whether adequate internal safeguards
       and management procedures exist within those OIGs that exercise law
       enforcement powers pursuant to Section 6(e) of the IG Act and the “Attorney
       General’s Guidelines for Offices of Inspector General with Statutory Law
       Enforcement Authority.”

      Appendix C-1 is a questionnaire to assess compliance with the general and
       qualitative standards outlined in the CIGIE QSI. Appendix C-2 is a questionnaire
       to assess conformity with digital forensics activities.

       Incorporation of Appendix C-2 (a review of digital forensics activities) is not
       mandatory. It is an “opt-in” feature of a peer review. If the OIG organization being
       reviewed has computer forensic capability, it may, prior to commencement of the
       review, opt to have its digital forensics activities reviewed. If an organization does
       opt in, the results of the digital forensics review will be included in the overall
       assessment of the OIG organization. Please note that regardless of an
       organization’s decision to opt in, or out, of a digital forensic review, the
       investigative operations of information technology and computer-related units will
       be reviewed relative to the QSI (planning, execution and reporting) and Attorney
       General’s Guidelines, where appropriate. Appendix C-2 involves an additional
       review step—focusing on the technical aspects of digital forensics activities. If the
       OIG organization conducting the peer review does not have in-house personnel
       with computer forensic capability to conduct the review, it may seek assistance
       from other CIGIE OIG organizations.

      Appendix D-1 and D-2 are individual and summary checklists, respectively, used
       to sample closed investigative case files when testing the degree of compliance
       with the Attorney General’s Guidelines and/or the QSI mentioned above.

      Appendix E includes sample formats for reporting CIGIE QAR findings.

      Appendix F is the “Attorney General’s Guidelines for Offices of Inspector General
       with Statutory Law Enforcement Authority.”

      Appendix G-1 is the “Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI
       Operations.”



                                             2
        Appendix H is the “Attorney General’s Guidelines Regarding the Use of
         Confidential Informants.”

        Appendix I is the “CIGIE Quality Standards for Investigations,” dated December
         2003. 1

        Appendix J is the “CIGIE Guidelines on Undercover Operations,” dated February
         2010.

2. Background. These guidelines are based primarily on the IG Act, the QSI
   (December 2003) and the “Attorney General’s Guidelines for Offices of Inspector
   General with Statutory Law Enforcement Authority” (December 8, 2003).

    The IG Act has established statutory OIGs in over 70 Federal establishments and
    entities, including all cabinet departments and Federal agencies, boards,
    commissions, corporations, and foundations and agencies of the Legislative Branch.

    The QSI categorizes investigative standards as General and Qualitative. General
    Standards address qualifications, independence, and due professional care.
    Qualitative Standards focus on investigative planning, execution, reporting, and
    information management.

    The “Attorney General’s Guidelines for Offices of Inspector General with Statutory
    Law Enforcement Authority” govern the exercise of statutory police powers by
    Inspectors General and eligible employees and the role of Federal prosecutors in
    providing guidance in the use of sensitive criminal investigative techniques.

3. Objectives of the Investigative QAR Program. The overall objective of a QAR is
   to determine whether internal control systems are in place and operating effectively
   to provide reasonable assurance that an OIG is complying with professional
   investigative standards, as well as other requirements. This assessment program is
   intended to be positive and constructive rather than negative or punitive. With this in
   mind, the review team is encouraged to identify “best practices” or similar notable
   positive attributes of the organization. Additionally, the review team should view
   favorably on-the-spot corrections to non-systemic potential weaknesses. Further,
   the team must consider the extent to which the reviewed OIG had/has control over a
   potential weakness (e.g., agency is responsible for a particular process such as
   inventory control, encryption, background investigations, etc.).

    These guidelines are applicable to a diverse set of Federal and non-Federal
    organizations, including all cabinet departments, Federal agencies, boards,
    commissions, corporations and foundations, and Legislative Branch agencies.

1
  The 2003 edition of the Quality Standards for Investigations were published by the President’s Council on Integrity
and Efficiency (PCIE) and the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency (ECIE). These entities were replaced in
the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-409) by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and
Efficiency.


                                                          3
   Reviewing OIGs should be cognizant of the structure of the organization they are
   reviewing and how that OIG has adapted QSI and other professional standards to
   the unique circumstances of that respective department or agency. As such,
   reviewing OIGs may adapt the guidelines, as appropriate.
 .
4. Management and Oversight of CIGIE QAR Program. The CIGIE Investigations
   Committee has responsibility for overall management and oversight of the CIGIE
   QAR process. This Committee will resolve all issues that cannot be mutually agreed
   upon by the CIGIE QAR team and any OIG being reviewed.

   The Chairperson of the CIGIE Investigations Committee is responsible for
   establishing a schedule to ensure that OIGs with statutory law enforcement authority
   pursuant to Section 6(e) of the Inspector General Act are subject to a CIGIE QAR no
   less than once every three years.

   The selection of assessment partners must be done in a manner that ensures the
   integrity of the peer review process. Peer reviewers must be free, both in fact and
   appearance, from impairments to independence. An OIG that received a
   noncompliant QAR rating will be deemed unqualified to conduct a QAR of another
   OIG until that OIG receives a compliant rating. Generally speaking, where feasible,
   assessment partners will be of similar size and have similar law enforcement
   powers. The Investigations Committee will coordinate its scheduling efforts with the
   CIGIE Audit Committee. The CIGIE QAR schedule should be updated and
   distributed with sufficient lead time to ensure OIGs are able to plan their
   participation. Absent unique circumstances, participating agencies (reviewer and
   reviewed) should be made aware of future peer reviews at least 1 year in advance.
   The OIGs involved in a specific peer review may, upon mutual agreement,
   accelerate or delay a review by one calendar quarter without prior approval by the
   Investigations Committee. The Chair of the Assistant Inspector General for
   Investigations (AIGI) subcommittee is responsible for resolving scheduling conflicts
   or issues that may arise.

   Newly established OIGs or those that do not have statutory law enforcement
   authority are strongly encouraged to participate voluntarily in an investigative peer
   review every three years. OIGs that seek and obtain 6(e) authority from the Attorney
   General must immediately initiate steps to adhere to “Attorney General’s Guidelines
   for Offices of Inspector General with Statutory Law Enforcement Authority.”
   Compliance with these guidelines will be evaluated during their next scheduled peer
   review but not sooner than 3 years following the granting of the authority. Thus,
   those OIGs should request the Investigations Committee add their office to the QAR
   schedule.

   The function of the CIGIE QAR is considered inherently governmental. The process
   must be handled within the Inspector General (IG) community and not contracted
   externally.




                                           4
5. Review Team Staffing and Qualifications. Conducting a CIGIE QAR review
   requires considerable professional judgment and leadership. The CIGIE QAR team
   will consist of a team leader with appropriate investigative background and
   experience. It is recommended, but not mandated, that the team leader be at or
   above the GS-15 grade level, or equivalent. The rest of the team will consist of OIG
   investigators and an administrative support staff from one or more OIGs, as deemed
   necessary.

   The team size and composition may vary depending on a number of factors
   including, but not limited to: the size and geographic dispersion of the OIG being
   reviewed; changes in organizational structure, control and leadership; and the
   number, type and importance of reports issued at each field location or satellite
   office.

   If the organization under review handles classified information, members of the
   assessment team must have the appropriate level of security clearance(s) to permit
   a complete CIGIE QAR without undue limitation on the quality of the review.

6. Independence. The review team members and their senior management should
   meet the independence standards in the “Quality Standards for Federal Offices of
   Inspector General” and the CIGIE QSI. To avoid any appearance of bias, care
   should be taken to ensure that the CIGIE QAR team members do not have
   relationships with the officials in the OIG being reviewed that would be viewed as
   lacking impartiality by knowledgeable third parties. The CIGIE QAR team members
   should not have been recent employees of the OIG being reviewed. The OIG
   managing a CIGIE QAR cannot review an office that conducted its most recent
   CIGIE QAR or CIGIE audit peer review. Questions or concerns related to the
   composition of a particular QAR team should first be raised with the IG of the review
   team. If these issues cannot be resolved, they can be raised with the CIGIE
   Investigations Committee.

7. Confidentiality and Security. The CIGIE QAR team should safeguard all
   privileged, confidential and national security or classified information in compliance
   with applicable laws, regulations and professional standards.

   All matters discussed, materials assembled, documents prepared and reports
   generated through an external CIGIE QAR should, at a minimum, be treated as
   proprietary information and maintained appropriately. To the extent possible,
   privileged and confidential information, such as names and other personally
   identifying information, should not be recorded in reports issued by the CIGIE QAR
   team. The team leader must ensure that the team complies with relevant
   professional guidance on the use, protection and reporting of information such as
   classified material, Internal Revenue Service tax information and protection of grand
   jury material and information.

   It is possible that the review team may not be granted access to sensitive material
   because of legal restrictions. If this situation occurs, the review team should review


                                           5
   the system related to the maintenance and protection of information to determine the
   adequacy of established procedures. Discussion among review team members of
   any information obtained during an external review is limited to a need-to-know
   basis.

8. Due Professional Care. The review team should strive to achieve quality
   performance by exercising due professional care and sound professional judgment
   in planning, performing and reporting the results of the review.

9. Self-Inspection Programs. Some OIGs have an internal self-inspection program. If
   so, the OIG being reviewed will furnish a copy of any internal self-inspection reports
   that have been completed since the last peer review to the new CIGIE QAR team.
   The reviewed OIG may provide the QAR team with a copy of the self-inspection
   report before the onsite review. Additionally, the reviewed OIG may limit disclosure
   to only those portions that relate to areas covered by the peer review. Removal
   and/or copying of the internal report may be restricted by the reviewed OIG. The
   QAR team may consider information from the self-inspection program; however,
   such information will not be the sole basis for the overall QAR rating.


PLANNING AND PERFORMING THE INVESTIGATIVE CIGIE QAR REVIEW

As stated above, the objective of a QAR is to determine whether internal safeguards
and management procedures are in place and operating effectively to provide
reasonable assurance that established policies, procedures and applicable investigative
standards are being followed. In making this determination, the CIGIE QAR team will
analyze existing policies and procedures, conduct interviews with selected management
officials and the investigative staff, and sample closed investigative files and other
administrative records, as warranted.

The documentation required for a full peer review is completion of the CIGIE QAR
Appendices A, B (if applicable), C-1, C-2 (if applicable), D-1, and D-2. For agencies not
governed by the law enforcement powers conferred by the 2002 amendments to the
Inspector General Act (Section 6(e)), the scope of the review may be limited or
expanded based on the agreement of the reviewed organization and the CIGIE QAR
team leader.

1. Scope.

   Appendix A – This section is an organizational profile of the office being reviewed.

   Appendix B – If applicable, this section of the CIGIE QAR assesses whether an
   organization meets the requirement of statutory law enforcement implementation.
   An OIG that received statutory law enforcement powers under legislation other than
   Section 6 of the IG Act may be reviewed in accordance with its criteria.




                                            6
   Appendix C-1/C-2 – This portion of the CIGIE QAR process tests an office’s general
   conformity with the CIGIE QSI.

   Appendix D-1/D-2 – This portion of the CIGIE QAR includes checklists for sampling
   closed investigative files for their compliance with applicable law enforcement
   standards and the CIGIE QSI.

   Answers to certain questions in appendices B, C-1 and D-1 may not be readily
   available or apparent based on available documentation and information. In these
   instances, the peer review team should assess whether there is clear, specific and
   articulable information in the case file or from other sources it has reviewed to
   suggest the standard was violated. In the absence of such information, the
   appropriate answer is “yes” to the corresponding question indicating “in compliance.”

2. Approach. Review team members should be knowledgeable of all facets of an
   investigation and use prudent judgment when evaluating compliance with the
   Inspector General Act, the CIGIE QSI, applicable law enforcement guidelines and
   OIG policies and procedures. To the extent possible, teams will review offices with
   similar law enforcement authorities and structures.

   Generally, review teams will be assessing the following:

      Whether the organization has policies, procedures or programs in place to
       facilitate compliance with the Attorney General’s Guidelines and/or the CIGIE
       QSI.

      Whether the organization has policies, procedures or programs in place to
       facilitate the identification and correction of non-compliance.

      Whether the organization complies with the above policies, procedures or
       programs.

3. Pre-Site Review Steps. The organization being reviewed will complete Appendix A
   in its entirety and only the “Reviewed Agency Policy/Manual Reference” column of
   Appendix B (if applicable) and Appendix C-1 as well as Appendix C-2 (if applicable).
   Hyperlinking responses to relevant document cites is optional, but encouraged. It is
   preferable that this documentation be furnished electronically to the CIGIE QAR
   team for analysis before a site visit begins. The review team should always consider
   obtaining and reviewing relevant policy and procedural documentation to save time
   on site.

   In advance of a peer review, the reviewed OIG should indicate with an “N/A” those
   questions that do not apply to the organization. OIGs are strongly encouraged to
   provide explanatory comments for any questions it feels warrant “N/A.” These
   comments will aid the assessment by the reviewing organization.




                                           7
   Examples of references and other documentation that should be available for the
   review team to examine prior to the onsite review include:

   a. Manuals, Policy Statements and Handbooks – pertinent documents describing
      the operational policies and procedures.

   b. Semiannual Reports to Congress – at least the four most recent semiannual
      reports to Congress. (The semiannual reports will provide information regarding
      the nature and volume of investigative work being performed. The reports may
      also assist the review team in identifying closed case files to be reviewed.)

   c. A copy of the office’s last CIGIE QAR report and a summary of the
      corrective action taken in response to CIGIE QAR findings.

   d. Closed Case Inventory – a listing of the cases closed during the past 12
      months. (This listing should include information such as the case identifiers;
      dates the investigations were opened and closed; case types (e.g., employee
      integrity or procurement fraud); referral dates; disposition; types of action taken;
      hours charged; and grade levels of the investigators.)

   e. Self-Inspection Report – a copy (or appropriate portions) of self-inspection or
      internal evaluation reports conducted by the organization may be provided in
      advance or held until the onsite visit.

   Requests for information should be submitted to the OIG being reviewed
   approximately 60 to 90 calendar days before the onsite review begins.

4. Working Environment. Before beginning the on-site work, the CIGIE QAR team
   leader should arrange with the reviewed agency to have adequate workspace for the
   review team. The AIGI, or a designee, should facilitate the coordination of logistics
   for the CIGIE QAR team and in obtaining requested materials.

5. Review Schedule. The CIGIE QAR will be scheduled by mutual agreement
   between the review team and the agency to be reviewed. Once a tentative schedule
   is established, the reviewing organization should send the reviewed organization an
   engagement letter modeled on the example in Appendix E. The size of the
   organization or level of detail of the review may impact the time required to complete
   a review.

   The goal of the review team should be to complete a QAR efficiently. Therefore, the
   following timeframes are provided as general guidance:




                                            8
                   Action Item                    Recommended Timeframe
                                                        (calendar days)
    Appointment of CIGIE QAR team            90 days before the site review
    leader and selection of review team.

    Send engagement letter to reviewed       90 days before the site review
    organization.

    Conduct pre-site review and request      60 to 90 days before the on-site review
    necessary information from office        begins
    being reviewed.
    Conduct on-site review.                  5 to 10 days

    Complete the draft CIGIE QAR report 30 days after completing the on-site review
    and submit the draft report to the
    reviewed office for comment in an
    exit conference.
    Allow offices being reviewed to          15 days upon receipt of report
    comment on the draft report.
    Finalize CIGIE QAR report and            15 days after receipt of comment(s) by
    related documents and distribute.        reviewed office
    Memorandum from reviewed agency          60 days after issuance of final report
    on the status of corrective actions it
    committed to implement.

6. Entrance Briefing. An entrance briefing will be conducted with the IG or designee of
   the OIG being reviewed. The senior investigations personnel from each field office
   reviewed should be invited to attend the entrance briefing. This meeting provides an
   opportunity to outline the objectives of the CIGIE QARs, review the methodology and
   address any areas of management concern.

7. Sample Selection. It may be prohibitive in terms of time and resources for the
   review team to examine each field location and the entire population of OIG records
   to answer specific items in the appendices.

   The selection of field locations (satellite offices) included in the review involves the
   exercise of considerable professional judgment. The review team should strive to
   include offices that are representative of the OIG with greater weight given to
   locations with a lower level of centralized control. If prior internal inspections show a
   location had problems in the past, the team may want to review a sample of that
   location’s work to ensure that corrective actions have been implemented and, if so, if
   they were effective.



                                             9
Factors to be considered in selecting the field location(s) to be reviewed include the
following:

       Number, size and geographic dispersion of field offices
       Changes in organizational structure, control and leadership
       Number, type and importance of reports issued by location
       Degree of centralized control over field locations
       Results of prior internal inspection reports or other external reviews
       The need to verify the results of internal inspection reports

Due to the sensitive and dynamic nature of active investigations, it is recommended
that the review team sample closed cases during the CIGIE QAR (see Appendix
D-1/D-2). In determining the number of closed cases in the sample, it should be kept
in mind that the objective of the CIGIE QAR is to obtain information regarding the
performance of the OIG overall, not each individual office. Therefore, team leaders
should not feel that they need to select a certain number of reports at each location;
rather, to the extent possible, the sample selection should facilitate the review of a
cross-section of investigation types performed by the OIG staff at the location (e.g.,
procurement fraud, environmental crimes, technology crimes, traditional crimes,
employee misconduct, etc.). Additionally, the review team may, at its discretion,
review closed cases from prior years for further validation if the original sample is
either too small or suggests potential significant deficiencies. However, the review
team generally should not examine cases closed more than two years prior to the
review.

The following guidance is furnished to assist the review team in determining the
number of closed cases selected in the sample:

 Number of Cases Closed
                                     Minimum Number of Closed Cases In the
    In the 12 Months
                                                  Sample
 Preceding On-site Work
         0-20                                           All Files

        21 – 100 Cases                              20 Closed Cases

       101 – 500 Cases                              30 Closed Cases

       500 (or more) Cases                          50 Closed Cases


The review team must apply a no-advance-notice policy in advising the OIG of the
closed case files selected for review during the on-site visit, if legally possible.

Sampling may also be used to perform the following review steps:



                                          10
   a. Reviewing documentation to determine whether investigators meet the basic
      qualifications for investigators.

   b. Review of training profiles, or the equivalent, to ensure investigators maintain
      their investigative and law enforcement skills.

8. Defining and Identifying Observations, Findings, Deficiencies, and Significant
   Deficiencies. Determining the relative importance of matters noted during the peer
   review, individually or combined with others, requires professional judgment. Careful
   consideration is required in forming conclusions. This includes assessing the nature,
   cause(s), pattern and pervasiveness of an issue.

   The descriptions that follow are intended to assist in aggregating and evaluating the
   peer review results, forming conclusions and determining the rating of the peer
   review report to issue:

   a. Observation. An “observation” generally occurs when one or more “No” answers
      are recorded for questions in a peer review checklist (e.g., Appendices B, C and
      D).

   b. Finding. A “finding” is one or more related observations that result from a
      condition in the organization’s system of quality control or compliance with it such
      that there is more than a remote possibility that the organization would not
      perform, or did not perform, in conformity with its policies and procedures,
      applicable professional standards or related requirements. A review team will
      assess whether one or more findings are a deficiency. If the review team
      concludes that no finding, individually or combined with others, rises to the level
      of deficiency, a report rating of compliant is appropriate (see below).

   c. Deficiency. A “deficiency” is one or more findings that result from a condition in
      the organization’s system of quality control or compliance with it such that there
      is reasonable likelihood that the organization would not perform, or did not
      perform, in conformity with its policies and procedures, applicable professional
      standards or related requirements. A review team will assess whether one or
      more deficiencies constitute a significant deficiency. If the review team concludes
      that no deficiency, individually or combined with others, rises to the level of
      significant deficiency, a report rating of compliant is appropriate (see below).
      Deficiencies will be reported to the reviewed OIG with suggestions for
      improvement.

   d. Significant Deficiency. A “significant deficiency” is one or more deficiencies that
      result from a condition in the organization’s system of quality control or
      compliance with it such that there is a high probability that the organization would
      not perform, or did not perform, in conformity with its policies and procedures,
      applicable professional standards or related requirements. A significant
      deficiency is generally limited to a material failure(s) to conform with critical



                                           11
      elements of the CIGIE Quality Standards for Investigation and/or the Attorney
      General’s Guidelines for Statutory Law Enforcement Authority and related
      requirements. A significant deficiency indicates a breakdown in practices,
      programs and/or policies that had an actual notable adverse impact on, or has a
      likelihood of materially affecting, the integrity of the investigative process (e.g.,
      planning, conducting, reporting) or law enforcement operations (i.e., powers
      conferred by the IG Act). If the review team identifies one or more significant
      deficiencies, a report rating of noncompliant is appropriate. Significant
      deficiencies will be reported to the reviewed OIG with recommendations for
      correction and/or improvement.

In each of the above instances—observation, finding, deficiency and significant
deficiency—the peer review team must consider the nature, causes, pattern, materiality,
pervasiveness and relative importance to the issue or system of quality control as a
whole. The OIG under review must be afforded the opportunity to provide explanatory or
mitigating information prior to the review team reaching a conclusion.

The following circumstances generally do not give rise to a noncompliant finding:

         Issues were found in a limited number of case files or at one of several sites
          reviewed;
         An issue existed in an area outside the exclusive or substantial control of the
          OIG;
         The reviewed OIG lacked stand-alone internal written policy but, in practice,
          complied with applicable standards; and,
         The organization violated its own internal policy, but has complied with the
          CIGIE QSI and the Attorney General’s Guidelines (e.g., internal policy
          documents require training at a shorter interval than it actually conducts, but
          its practice, although violating its policy, is consistent with the QSI and
          Attorney General’s Guidelines).

9. QAR Rating Options. The CIGIE QAR team has the following two options for
   assessing an OIG’s overall performance:


          Rating                                   Explanation

       Compliant         A rating of “compliant” conveys that the reviewed organization
                         has adequate internal safeguards and management
                         procedures to ensure that CIGIE standards are followed and
                         that law enforcement powers conferred by the IG Act are
                         properly exercised (for applicable agencies). An OIG with one
                         or more significant deficiencies may not receive a compliant
                         rating.




                                            12
         Rating                                  Explanation

     Noncompliant       A rating of non-compliance indicates a breakdown in
                        practices, programs and/or policies that had an actual notable
                        adverse impact on, or has a likelihood of materially affecting,
                        the integrity of the investigative process (e.g., planning,
                        conducting, reporting) or law enforcement operations (i.e.,
                        powers conferred by the IG Act).



10. Views of Responsible Officials. CIGIE QAR assessments must be both complete
    and fair. Exaggeration of an issue’s significance must be avoided. One way to
    ensure the objectiveness, accuracy, and completeness of the findings is to obtain
    the views of responsible officials prior to finalizing the assessment. When tentative
    observations, findings or deficiencies are found, the team must discuss the situation
    with the appropriate responsible official(s) designated by the reviewed OIG during
    the review. On-the-spot corrections will be viewed favorably, but must be completed
    prior to the issuance of the final report. Depending on the gravity of the matter
    corrected on the spot, the issue—and corresponding corrective action—may be
    discussed in either the opinion letter or letter of observations. All preliminary
    observations, findings, deficiencies or significant deficiencies must be presented
    during the review to the official(s) designated by the reviewed OIG prior to issuing
    the draft report. This action will help avoid any misunderstandings and aid in
    ensuring that all facts are considered before a formal draft report is prepared.

11. Exit Conference. The review team must prepare and present the draft report to the
    IG and other members of the senior management team at the conclusion of the on-
    site visit.


REPORTING REVIEW RESULTS

The QAR Report consists of an Opinion Letter and an optional Observations Letter. See
Appendix E.

1. Opinion Letter. This letter is prepared by the CIGIE QAR team and furnished to the
   IG of the reviewed organization. The body of the opinion letter contains information
   such as:

   a. Scope of the review, including any limitations thereon, and any expansion of the
      review beyond the basic review guide, if applicable.

   b. Description of the review methodology, including the field offices visited and a
      listing, by case number, of each investigative file reviewed.


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   c. The review team’s opinion regarding the compliance or non-compliance with
       CIGIE QSI and applicable law enforcement standards.

   d. An explanation of review team actions taken in response to the OIG’s official
      comments to the draft report.

If a rating of noncompliant is reported, all significant deficiencies that served as the
basis for the rating must be included in an attachment. The significant deficiencies must
be supported by clear and convincing evidence of noncompliance, as well as a specific
listing of the standard(s) violated.

A non-complaint rating will also be accompanied by recommendations for corrective
action and/or improvement. Such recommendations for corrective action and/or
improvement should be discussed with the reviewed OIG prior to finalizing the opinion
letter. The review team will work closely with the Investigations Committee to determine
if the reviewed OIG will be required to provide periodic updates on the status of
implementing recommendations. The timing and form of such updates, and to whom
they will be provided, will also be determined in coordination with the CIGIE
Investigations Committee. Recommendations will be closed upon mutual agreement
between the Investigations Committee and reviewed OIG. They will remain open or not
fully implemented until that time. The Investigations Committee will review and resolve
disputes in this area. Significant deficiencies and associated recommendations may be
reportable in an organization’s Semiannual Report to Congress.

2. Observations Letter. A supplemental observations letter may optionally be
   furnished to the IG of the reviewed office. Observations may fall into two categories:

   a. “Best Practices” or similar notable positive attributes of the organization.
      In keeping with the constructive nature of the CIGIE QAR program, the reviewing
      agency will highlight practices, policies, programs, accomplishments, etc., that
      are particularly worthy of praise or acknowledgement. Examples include, but are
      not limited to, a comprehensive management development program, an
      advanced management information system and quality report writing and
      reviewing process.

      In coordination with the reviewed agency, the team should report particularly
      noteworthy accomplishments found during the review to the CIGIE Investigations
      Committee for dissemination. Other OIGs may benefit from this information. This
      may be done in a separate letter from the team leader to the Committee.

   b. Areas for Improvement or Increased Efficiency/Effectiveness. Peer review
      teams      may      offer  suggestions      for   improvement       or    increased
      efficiency/effectiveness based on observations, findings and deficiencies
      identified. The reviewing team will identify a specific applicable Quality Standard
      or Attorney General’s Guideline as a benchmark. Isolated instances of policy or



                                           14
      procedural nonconformity, or non-systemic events or conditions, are included
      here. For example, a review team could identify policies or programs that are
      inconsistent with applicable standards. Implementation of the suggestions is
      done at the discretion of the reviewed OIG and will not be tracked or monitored
      by the review team.

3. Views of Responsible Officials. The OIG being reviewed must be afforded an
   opportunity to comment on the formal draft report prior to the issuance of a final
   assessment report. All material facts provided by the reviewed organization must be
   considered by the review team to determine whether the initial comments included in
   the draft report should be revised.

4. Dispute Resolution. The reviewed OIG may seek informal advice and guidance
   from the Investigations Committee regarding any concerns about draft findings or
   deficiencies. The IG of the reviewed organization may formally refer a dispute about
   a draft significant deficiency to the CIGIE Investigations Committee for review and
   resolution, if the IG cannot resolve the matter with the CIGIE QAR team. The IG of
   the reviewed organization should provide the Investigations Committee: (a) a copy of
   the draft CIGIE QAR report and attachments, (b) the reviewed organization’s
   response to the draft CIGIE QAR findings, and (c) a written summary of the material
   facts regarding the disagreement.

   The Investigations Committee should work with the OIG being reviewed and the
   CIGIE QAR team leader to resolve the dispute. A range of options are available to
   the Investigations Committee. For example, the Investigations Committee may elect
   to: (a) accept the CIGIE QAR team’s initial conclusion related to a significant
   deficiency; (b) accept the reviewed organization’s explanations; (c) request the
   CIGIE QAR review team conduct additional work to facilitate the resolution of the
   disagreement; (d) form a new CIGIE QAR team tasked with conducting further
   review of the disputed findings; or (e) other options not specifically anticipated here.

   As mentioned previously, the Investigations Committee should be furnished a copy
   of each final CIGIE QAR report conducted in CIGIE organizations. If the reviewed
   organization receives an overall opinion rating of “noncompliance,” the organization
   must provide the Investigations Committee a detailed corrective action plan to bring
   the organization into compliance with professional standards. Where appropriate,
   this plan will be made available to the U.S. Department of Justice upon request. An
   organization receiving an overall noncompliance rating will not be allowed to conduct
   CIGIE QAR reviews at other agencies until the corrective action plan has been
   developed and the CIGIE Investigations Committee has approved its
   implementation.




                                            15
5. Letter Distribution. The review team will distribute the final peer review results as
   follows:

      a. Reviewed OIG: Original Opinion Letter and Observations Letter(s).

      b. CIGIE Investigations Committee: Copies of Opinion Letter (including
         attachments) and Observations Letter(s) will be sent to:

             Executive Director
             Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
             1717 H Street, NW, Suite 825
             Washington, DC 20006

      c. Attorney General: Copy of Opinion Letter, including any attachments, only for
         those agencies that receive their law enforcement authority pursuant to
         Section 6(e) of the IG Act. This letter will be sent directly to the Attorney
         General at:

             U.S. Department of Justice
             Attn: Attorney General (CIGIE Investigative Peer Review)
             950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
             Washington, DC 20530-0001

   Additionally, consistent with the CIGIE Quality Standards for Federal Offices of
   Inspector General, a reviewed OIG may provide a copy of the final letters resulting
   from the CIGIE QAR to the head of the agency or department and/or make the
   results publicly available.

6. Files Maintenance. All files, records, notes, memoranda or other documents
   obtained from the office reviewed will be returned after issuing the final report. The
   OIG conducting the CIGIE QAR should retain a copy of the final report and
   supporting appendices. It is recommended that these documents be retained by the
   reviewing OIG for at least two review cycles.

   The OIG conducting the CIGIE QAR will institute a record retention policy in
   accordance with guidelines established by the National Archive and Records
   Administration. All requests for access to the CIGIE QAR files, to include Freedom of
   Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA) requests, must be processed in
   consultation with the reviewing and reviewed IG and the CIGIE Executive Director.




                                            16
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The individuals below were contributors for this revision of the QAR Guide.

The QAR working group consisted of the following AIGIs:

           P. Brian Crane, AIGI, Treasury OIG
           Peggy L. Fischer, AIGI, NSF OIG
           John R. Hartman, DIG, DOE OIG
           Kimberly A. McKinley, DIG for Investigations, OPM OIG
           Douglas J. Morgan, Jr., SAC, NSF OIG
           James J. O'Neill, AIGI, VA OIG
           Michelle B. Schmitz, AIGI, OPM OIG
           William R. Siemer, AIGI, USPS OIG
           Robert J. Walters. Acting DIG, CNCS OIG

Investigations Committee Members

Chair:    Carl W. Hoecker           IG, U.S. Capitol Police
Co-chair: Eric M. Thorson           IG, Treasury Department

Members: Lanie D’Alessandro         IG, National Reconnaissance Office
         Charles K. Edwards         Acting IG, Department of Homeland Security
         Arthur A. Elkins           IG, Environmental Protection Agency
         Michael G. Carroll         Acting IG, Agency for International Development
         J. Russell George          IG, Treasury Inspector General for Tax
                                        Administration
           Peggy E. Gustafson       IG, Small Business Administration
           Allison C. Lerner        IG, National Science Foundation
           John P. McCarty          Acting IG, Department of Housing and Urban
                                        Development
           Brian D. Miller          IG, General Services Administration
           George J. Opfer          IG, Veterans Administration
           Jon T. Rymer             IG, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
           Cynthia A. Schnedar      Acting IG, Department of Justice
           Karl W. Schornagel       IG, Library of Congress
           Kathleen S. Tighe        IG, Department of Education


The following individuals contributed substantially to the final product:

           William D. Hamel, AIGI, ED OIG/AIGI Committee Chair
           Glenn P. Harris, General Counsel, SBA OIG




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